When Did We Start Adulting?


brynn_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title When Did We Start Adulting?
Synopsis A whole new chapter opens.
Date January 9, 2019

Lance's Apartment

It's just another day at Lance Gerken's apartment. The calendar hanging from a nail on the wall has been marked off to January 9th, and it's a little after lunch that the legal resident of the place - not counting all the people who frequently crash here - comes in with the mail from downstairs, hip-checking the door closed behind him.

"Coupons, coupons, 'sign up for GhostNet today', community news sheet, just jun— huh, this looks like actual mail," he says, talking out loud to himself and the others in his place.

Brynn's not been staying overnight as often, though a great many nights she's here. The skunk is her line in the sand, though — doesn't matter what anyone says, she remembers that day in Canada when she got hosed down and spent the next three days crying. Today, though, she's here with her now-constant companion Doodlebug, the golden labradoodle that Hailey trained as a service dog for her. She slept here last night and whatever it is that she gets up to during the day, she didn't have anything today so she's been doing nothing but sketching ideas for tattoos for Pearl.

She glances up as she feels the air displacement and thump of the door closing, shooting her brother a small smile. It's easy to be here… it feels like home.

Joe is… doing homework. Which is a new development. He's reading through Farenheit 451 and making notes about stuff in a notebook as he goes. He's also got a slim textbook open. He's sitting on the floor at the coffee table? Assuming the kids have salvaged one from somewhere or built one out of cardboard boxes or milk crates. He looks over in Brynn's direction, still eyeing the dog a bit. It can't hurt him but some things are ingrained. He's still got doggo trauma. His attention shifts up when Lance comes inside. "Civil war. Country torn apart. New York is practically a third world country still. (Not really) But trust junk mail to still get where it needs to go." Joe snorts aloud, signing that all for Brynn as well before he goes back to writing notes in the notebook he's got out.

"Right?" The junk mail is tossed in a pile on the side of the salvaged coffee table out of Joe's way, and then Lance is peeling open the single letter remaining. "Although sometimes the community thing's got some interesting event— " He cuts off as he starts to read the letter in his hands, blinks once at it, and then abruptly sits down on the couch heavily.

Brynn grins at Joe, because ain't it the truth??? She moves to set her sketchpad down to say something but whatever it is gets interrupted by the way Lance drops onto the couch. The way his expression goes blank is perhaps even scarier to her than if he'd gotten angry — blank is shock. Blank is… someone hurt, someone dead, something horrible happened back home. Gray eyes flicker uncertainly toward Joe because he can ask verbally. Bug, sensing her sudden tension, whines softly and shoves his nose into her leg.

Joe can't see Lance's face. He hears the thud sure but then… they're probably not the most gentle people on furniture given their upbringing. So Joe continues right along scratching out notes on the notebook. "College isn't half bad guys. It's not actually all that different from Brian home schooling us. Teachers tell you want to do, then expect you to be an adult and do it. It's really not bad. As long as you don't let yourself get distracted. And I've got some classes with Emily so that's cool too. Also…. wait, why has no one told me to shut up yet?" He asks, lifting his head, looking over to Brynn, then follows her line of sight to Lance. Joe pauses for a moment, then tips his head slowly to the side. "Sup bro?" He asks, reaching up and over to rest a hand on Lance's shoulder, flashing a sign at Brynn to let her know he's asked Lance what's going on.

"I… uh." Lance just stares at the paper in his hand for a moment, then clears his throat, "Okay, uh, Joe, can you translate to Brynn for me? So I can read this out loud— " He sounds nervous, anxious— but excited, also? A tumult of emotions there that he's not sure how to deal with, all printed on the letter in his hand.

Brynn's hand drops to Doodlebug's head and she nods acknowledgement to Joe on his sign that he asked what was wrong. She's a little worried when he asks Joe to translate. Without tone to tell her what's happening, she can only go by his expression and that's tight and a little tense.

Joe tilts his head to the side a little bit, peeering at Lance. He's not used to seeing his adopted brother ruffled like this. "Sure bro. Just… go ahead and tell me what's up. I'll translate." He tips his head, relaying that all to Brynn as he goes. He also turns and closes his notebook and the novel, putting them both aside to make it clear that Lance has his full attention. Then.. he sits, and he waits. Joe is bursting at the seams wanting to ask questions, that much is clear, but he doesn't! It's a miracle.

Lance clears his throat, holding the letter - which may be why he's asking for translation, since he can't use his hands while reading. "Mr. Lance Gerken," he begins, "It is my special honor to— " He draws in a deep breath, "extend to you an invitation into the SLC-Expressive Services Agency's internship program."

The rest comes out in more of a rush, "Special Agent Bowie Lin personally recommended you for the 2019 program. I and my colleagues have reviewed your records and we believe that you are a good fit for this program. By interning with SESA you will be beginning a career in the single most important government agency of this age. You will learn from our field agents and administrative staff and, provided you maintain the requisite GPA and major qualifications, are eligible to receive total scholastic sponsorship at Brooklyn College for the tenure of your internship."

"Should you accept, you will be working on Governor's Island in Fort Jay, you will be a representative to all SLC-Expressives and an example to your peers. Please consider this offer with care, and inquire via phone or in person at Fort Jay. You have until February 4th to accept this offer. Your internship is scheduled to begin on February 28th if accepted."

Joe blinks slowly in surprise, but his hands move constantly for Brynn's sake as Lance goes, even emphasizing some of the emotion in Lance's voice as he reads. Joe is rather surprised by it all to be fair. Cuz he didn't even know Lance had applied for SESA. He knew Lance had talked about it, but not that he'd actually gone and done it. He signs, not stopping mid sentence or anything, he gets it all out for Brynn. And when his hands stop moving his lips do. But only for a moment. "Huh." He tilts his head further to the side, looking perhaps a little bird like with the cocked head. "Uhhh congrats?" He half states half asks, and translates for Brynn too.

There's a long moment where Brynn is staring… at Joe's hands, first of all. Putting together what just got signed. And then at Lance's face. She knows he's been considering it, they talked about it a while ago! And then she explodes upward from her cross-legged position on the floor to hurtle onto the couch and wrap her arms around Lance tightly. Even without being able to say so, it's clear that she's thrilled for him. The grin on her face is huge.

After she's done throttling him just a little, she's the one who channels Joe's usual exuberance a bit. OMG, that is PRIMAL. You get to work for them and go to school!? You're gonna do great! I'm so proud of you! Are you going to have to live out there? Wait, does that mean that you won't live here anymore? Worry creases her brow.

"I didn't— I mean, I didn't even apply!" A grunt of surprise as Lance is all but tackled, wrapping his arms back around Brynn as the letter hits the floor, I didn't think— and college? I didn't think I'd ever… I mean, Robyn said, but…" His hands move stuttering, unsure which words to pick or even to say. It's clear that he never expected this to become real despite talking about it. "And I don't know! Maybe, I don't know, I just… I mean, I never really expected this."

Joe blinks as Brynn goes sailing past him and pounces a Lance. His lips part to speak, but then close, cuz Brynn. He pauses a few moment just to watch, bemused, but also confused. He pauses a few moments. "Dude. You're totally going to need a car to get around." Yes Joe, cuz that's the logical next step in the conversation. How is Lance going to get a car. "Congrats. I'm happy for you. I mean if your'e happy that is, if your'e not then I wanna know who the heck submitted an application without you know. Actually I wanna know that either way." Joe isn't really sure what to say, so he just pats Lance on the shoulder lightly and waits.

She blinks at her brother and waves off the squawking. Okay. Well… you have a month to decide if you want it. She obviously is still happy for Lance, but his own uncertainty on it means that she sits back on the couch next to him and crosses her legs. Nodding to Joe's assertion that a car may be required, she grimaces a little… that's a lot of money.

It says right in the letter who submitted it, she points out. Agent Lin recommended you. And Robyn maybe backed it or something… I mean… She shrugs a little a grins. Sure, maybe he only did it cuz our noses were already poked into their investigations and things cuz we can't just ignore stuff. But… it's a good opportunity. And you have time to think about it.

"Yeah. And yeah, yeah, you're right, I…" Lance laughs nervously then, fingers raking back through his hair as he looks to the pair, hands moving again to sign, "I just… I mean, this is literally everything I wanted, you know? And— everything I never thought I'd get. I gave up on college after getting turned down so many times, and I mean… I know Lin and Robyn said so, but I didn't really believe them, I guess." He leans over, picking up the letter and straightening back up again to look it over, "Wow. Just… wow."

Joe tips his head to Lance, and to Brynn, but mostly he's quiet, his features scrunched up in thought. "Gonna have to keep some of our other antics on the down low now. Well more so than they were before. I mean… yeah." Joe's cheeks puff out, but he does pat Lance on the shoulder again, a happy smile for their brother. "I'm happy for you Lance." His eyes flicker over to Brynn for a moment, then back to Lance. "We'll need to figure out a way to get you a car so you can get around. Unless they'll require you to live at Fort Jay. That's… possible. Especially during training."

Brynn sighs heavily at that idea. A car's expensive. But… I think between us, we can manage something, she mulls thoughtfully. And then she glances at the two of them. If they require you to live there, this apartment will go. Which… is okay, she hastens to add. I… sort of turned down the apartment they initially offered me, so now I'm kind of on a standby list. Aunt Gilly said she'd help me get things straightened out, though. She looks between them and then looks a little abashed. I didn't want to move out. Of all of them, she's perhaps the one for whom communal living is the best option — she doesn't like being totally alone, knowing that people can sneak up on her.

Lance brings a hand up to firmly clasp Joe's as it rests on his shoulder, flashing him a grin. "Sorry, I just… wow, it's still just sinking in." He smooths his fingers over the letter resting on his thigh, shaking his head, "This is… I really am having a hard time believing it…" Then he's watching Brynn's hands, and blinking, "You turned it down? Brynn! Well— guess I can understand." His nose scrunches up, "I don't know if it's gonna need me to move out. We'll see."

Joe tips his head forwards to Lance's statement. "I"m sure it's still sinking in. I'm sure it's going to take awhile to sink in." He's signing with his off hand in Cant, trying to get as much across as he can for Brynn's sake. "I don't want to move out either. Can we take over your lease if they make you move? Or can you maintain both places? I…" Joe pauses a moment. "I don't wanna break the gang up. This doesn't mean breaking up the gang right? Sorry. Your parade. Not raining on it." He pats Lance's shoulder again and nods his head a coupld times. "We'll get it all figured out. Maybe we can get Brynn enrolled on late enrollment? Art classes or something?" He glances to Brynn. "Then we'll all be in college. Silvia's even taking art courses too."

Brynn them both a small grin when they understand why she turned it down. We might be able to put in for a larger place where the three of us can live, she offers a little uncertainly. Aunt Gilly could surely help with that part of getting an apartment. That way even if Lance isn't there some of the time because he's out at Fort Jay, he's got his own place to come back to that isn't sitting empty. Because… it's a thought! Then Joe mentions her enrollment and she blushes a little bit, looking down. Guess now's the time to come clean all the way around. I did apply to the school again, but… I just can't pass the math test, Joe. That's the third time I've failed it. She's always struggled with numbers, though angles are easy for her. At least in her art.

"Oh hell no," Lance says firmly at Joe's question, "We are not breaking up the gang…" He waves the letter vaguely as he makes a broad gesture with it, "It's only an internship right now anyway, not like a full time thing, and if I'm at college then I can't be far anyway. I mean, even if I was over there full-time, SESA's only in charge of stuff here in the Safe Zone— " As they've found out to their annoyance more than once, "— so I'd never be far. You're my family and I'm not abandoning any of you. Even Hailey and Weasel's stinky animals."

He gives Brynn a sympathetic look, "I haven't been good either, I— maybe we can find someone to tutor us?" His gaze slides back to Joe. Joe passed the entry exam…

Joe tips his head forwards to Brynn's statement. "Maybe. With Aunt Gilly, and me in college, and Lance in SESA and college I'm sure we could pull on enough strings and favors to get a bigger place. This place will always be kinda special though. First place back in New York and all that. Like some people look back on their college apartment I guess? Something like that. Our coming of age and all that sorta stuff." Joe pauses a few moments, pulling in a breath, then lets it out. "When did we become adults?" He asks, his hands moving along as ever. His head shakes a bit, eyes tracking over to Brynn, then back to Lance. "We can get you through the math Brynn. Just gotta buckle down. If I can pass I know you two can pass. You're both way smarter than I am." He flashes a grin at both. He scoots up onto the couch though and leans in to wrap an arm around Lance's shoulders in a loose hug.

I'm not abandoning Weasel's smelly critters, but…. can we maybe let her have this apartment and we live in the bigger one? Were it asked aloud, the plaintive expression on her face would likely also make it to Brynn's voice. Hailey's Jim is bad enough, but the skunk is just a step too far for the deaf girl. Despite that, though, she laughs that silent chuckle of hers. I swear every time I look at algebra, it looks like heiroglyphics. But… if you're gonna do it, I'm gonna do it. She nods decisively. I'd rather go to art school, but I don't think they have one here, so ….

"We could probably get, like, a whole house if we save up," Lance suggests, "Maybe with a yard, so they can keep the animals out there." He grins at Brynn's protests, shaking his head, "Adulthood just crepy up on us, I guess…" A lean against Joe as his arm drapes around his shoulders, "So, hey. Adulthood's just another adventure, and we'll tackle it together, right? Like always."

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